There are several murderous mercenaries in the Marvel Universe, but none with the mix of qualities that Bullseye has. He has no superpowers, but he does have unerring marksmanship, high-level cunning, an utter disregard for human life, and a burning hatred for Daredevil. He now gets his turn in the spotlight, with "Bullseye," a new series written by Ed Brisson and drawn by Guillermo Sanna.
Brisson promises the series will hone in on "the unrepentant killer attempting to maintain the balance between psychotic murderer and a cool and collected assassin while doing what he does best -- killing anyone who happens to cross his path." While new adventures for Bullseye are great, there are lots of things about his past and his background well worth knowing. Here are 17 things you should know about Bullseye.
Bullseye was created by Marv Wolfman and John Romita Sr. His first appearance is in 1976's "Daredevil" #131, in a story written by Wolfman and with breakdowns by Bob Brown and finished art by Klaus Janson. We don't learn his name in that story. His name was later given as "Benjamin Poindexter," but that is just an alias. While battling Bullseye to keep him from murdering his new girlfriend, Milla Donovan, Daredevil calls him "Lester" in 1998's "Daredevil" #49, written by Brian Michael Bendis and drawn by Alex Maleev.
This leads up to the moment when Daredevil furiously uses a sharp rock to carve the target on Bullseye's forehead into a lasting and now-iconic scar, the better to match the way Bullseye appeared in the "Daredevil" movie, when he was portrayed by Colin Farrell. But in the 2004 miniseries "Bullseye: Greatest Hits," his brother, foster father and mother call him "Leonard."
According to one telling of his childhood, in 1996's "Elektra" #2, written by Peter Milligan and drawn by Mike Deodato Jr., Bullseye lived in a trailer park with his alcoholic father. The 8-year-old practiced archery against the trailer, angering his father, who smacked him upside the head and demanded he wash the target off the trailer wall. Later, the boy crept upon his sleeping father, painted a target on his forehead, and -- with an automatic pistol taken from a shoebox under the sink -- put the gun in the man's hand and shot him.
"Bullseye: Greatest Hits," written by Daniel Way and drawn by Steve Dillon, tells a different tale. In issue #1, Bullseye is held captive in a federal prison and, under questioning, says his brother set their home on fire, with his abusive father inside. But by issue #5, Bullseye stages a breakout and just before killing the last remaining investigator, says he -- not his brother -- set the fire, but his father escaped. He then goes to another section of the prison -- where his father is being held -- and taunts him just before torching the place.
In issue #2 of "Bullseye: Greatest Hits," we learn that Bullseye's uncanny throwing skills made him an excellent baseball pitcher. The orphaned brothers were placed in different foster homes, and his foster family, the Wilkersons, got him started in high school. Bullseye was even offered a scholarship but turned it down, going right to a minor league team. He got his shot at the big leagues three games in, called up to pitch before a capacity crowd. This would be a huge thrill for any rookie, but not for Bullseye.
In his major-league debut, he almost effortlessly no-hit the first eight innings, but got bored the longer the game went on. By the bottom of the ninth inning, he asked the manager to take him out of the game with one out left. The manager refused and told him to complete the game: "Just take this guy out." The player at bat made the mistake of trash-talking, "Gotcha scared, huh? Yeah, you better be ... " With that, our pitcher beaned him dead, gloating with one word: "Bullseye."
"Bullseye: Greatest Hits" tells us that after killing the baseball player, Bullseye was promptly arrested. But the National Security Agency recruited him to be an assassin, hiring lawyers who got the charges reduced to manslaughter. In an early assignment, Bullseye was trained as a soldier and sent to Nicaragua to train Contras, but learns they don't get enough official funding for the enterprise, so they have a deal with drug runners to smuggle cocaine via the airfield the rebels control.
Bullseye schemes to run off with the money from the drug operation, setting up his translator Paolo to take the fall. Things go awry when The Punisher comes to take down the operation. Bullseye and The Punisher battle, but Drug Enforcement Administration agents come to the site. Bullseye surrenders, and The Punisher escapes. After that, Bullseye becomes a mercenary and freelance assassin, working in troubled spots in Africa and Nicaragua.
From their first meeting, when Bullseye (now a costumed villain) came to New York to perpetrate an extortion-or-murder scheme, Daredevil has been a thorn in Bullseye's side. After that episode ended in 1976's "Daredevil" #132, Bullseye was hired to murder Matt Murdock and Foggy Nelson in 1977's "Daredevil" #141-143. Of course, Daredevil couldn't let that happen, but by story's end, Bullseye puts Daredevil in a death trap -- he ties him to a bolt on a giant crossbow aimed at a mountainside and triggers it -- and escapes.
Daredevil meets Bullseye again in 1977's issue #146, when they're both out of costume, stopping him from robbing a gun store. In retaliation, Bullseye hits Murdock in the head with a tossed golf ball, causing Daredevil to temporarily lose his radar sense ... which handicaps him when Bullseye takes hostages at a TV station and demands on the air that Daredevil come and fight. Daredevil does, struggling through the challenge. After that, there's been a longstanding enmity between the two, with numerous battles to near-death. Bullseye particularly tries to hurt Daredevil by attacking the women in his life, beginning with the Black Widow in 1979's "Daredevil" #159.
Bullseye and Deadpool are the best of frenemies, fighting with and against each other many times over the years. The readers first see them together in 2008's "Deadpool" #16 (Vol. 1), in a story written by Joe Kelly, penciled by Walter McDaniel and inked by Anibal Rodrigues and Rodney Ramos. However, we learn from 2009's "Deadpool" #11 (Vol. 2) that they have known each other since childhood -- and burned down their school. Of course, Deadpool's notoriously foggy memory and tenuous grip on reality, as well as Bullseye's penchant for lying, make it hard to know what to believe.
In the 2004 "Identity Disc" miniseries, Bullseye and Deadpool are among the villains chasing after the McGuffin of the title, said to hold secret information on all the heroes and their families. In the "Dark Avengers" storyline, Norman Osborn hires Bullseye to take out Deadpool, but Deadpool is too tough to succumb. After more than one failure, Bullseye makes a deal with Deadpool to get lost and saves face by telling him it was on Osborn's order.
In 1981's "Daredevil" #169, written and drawn by Frank Miller and inked by Klaus Janson, we see just how unhinged Bullseye is. He escapes from a hospital, where he was about to undergo surgery to remove a cancerous tumor from his brain. A doctor tells Daredevil and the police that the tumor is swelling inside Bullseye's skull, putting pressure on his brain, causing him severe headaches and making him see hallucinations. On the street, everyone Bullseye meets from his viewpoint is in a Daredevil costume. He starts attacking each person he passes, hoping to make the headache go away.
Alerted to these attacks, Daredevil gives chase, battling Bullseye in a movie theater. But Bullseye pulls a knife on one of the patrons, then throws it at Daredevil, who gets cut as Bullseye flees with his hostage. After using his senses to find Bullseye, Daredevil fights him down in the subway system, but the noise nearly overwhelms him. Daredevil prevails by keeping close to Bullseye and pummeling him, but is exhausted as Bullseye lies on the tracks. When a train approaches, Daredevil considers leaving him, but doesn't. After that, doctors remove Bullseye's tumor.
After Bullseye's tumor was removed, he is released from prison after his lawyers successfully argue that the tumor was to blame for all of his criminal and violent conduct, in 1981's "Daredevil" #170, written and drawn by Frank Miller and inked by Klaus Janson. As the story continues in #171 and #172, the Kingpin is enticed to return from his sabbatical in Japan by an offer to turn states evidence and surrender his files. The Kingpin's wife, Vanessa, goes to New York to hire Matt Murdock and Foggy Nelson to negotiate the deal. The Kingpin's lieutenants, not wanting him to make the deal, kidnap Vanessa and offer Bullseye $5 million to take out the Kingpin.
Bullseye demands $10 million, but Daredevil shows up to stop things, and they fight. To secure Vanessa's safety, the Kingpin agrees to turn his files over to the lieutenants, but his No. 1 henchman, Lynch, plants a bomb in the briefcase, and the explosion makes the Kingpin believe Vanessa has been killed. With that, the Kingpin goes full tilt to restore his control of the mobs -- and hires Bullseye to replace Lynch after he beats him to death.
Bulleye's employment with the Kingpin didn't last long. To ensure stability after the gang war with his former lieutenants, the Kingpin gave Daredevil the files in 1981's "Daredevil" #172, knowing that Daredevil couldn't pass up the opportunity to weaken the mob, even if it meant putting the Kingpin back on top. Unimpressed with Bullseye after seeing Daredevil clobber him good, the Kingpin let Daredevil take Bullseye along with the files, as a bonus. Bullseye broods in prison, hating the fact that Daredevil saved his life on the subway tracks.
He is more humiliated when he learns from The Punisher that the Kingpin hired Elektra as his new chief assassin. Breaking out of prison in "Daredevil" #181, Bullseye seeks out Elektra -- who has been ordered to kill Foggy Nelson! As Foggy pleads to know why, he recognizes Elektra as Matt Murdock's girlfriend from college, and Elektra lets him go. Right after that, Bullseye finds Elektra and they battle to the death -- her death -- as he first slits her throat with a thrown playing card, and then impales her with one of her own sais.
As the story continued in "Daredevil" #181, Elektra staggers to Matt Murdock's home and dies in his arms. Meanwhile, Bullseye goes to the Kingpin to be reinstated as his chief assassin, but the Kingpin tells him to take out Daredevil first. Bullseye goes to Murdock's home to ambush him, but Daredevil was ready. They begin a fight that goes across town, over rooftops and up on a high telephone wire. Bullseye stands on the wire, but Daredevil jumps on it, causing Bullseye to fall off. He catches Bullseye by the wrist, but an angry Bullseye shouts "NO! You won't save me -- not like before! Kill you! I'll kill --" and Daredevil lets him go, saying "You'll kill no one -- ever again!"
Bullseye suffers a broken spine from the fall. He is spirited away from prison, however, by Lord Dark Wind, the inventor of a process that fuses the indestructible metal adamantium to the human skeleton. He chose Bullseye because he needed an assassin for his own purposes, and puts him through the process despite Daredevil's attempt to stop it, in "Daredevil" #196-199, written by Denny O'Neil and drawn by several different artists in 1983.
Bullseye and the Punisher have had multiple run-ins over the years, which figures, given their similarities as serial killers -- although the Punisher sees himself as fighting a one-man war on crime, while Bullseye gets a thrill from killing greater than any joy over the money he is paid. In 1995's "The Punisher" #101-#103 (Vol. 2), written by Chuck Dixon and drawn by Rod Whigham and several inkers, mobster Rosalie Carbone hires Bullseye to kill rival Vito Vaducci and the Punisher.
However, in "Punisher War Journal" #79, also written by Dixon and drawn by Doug Wheatley and Steve Moncuse, Carbone refuses to pay up because by then, she had killed Vaducci herself and the Punisher had fled. In the 2006 "Punisher vs. Bullseye" miniseries, written by Daniel Way and drawn by Steve Dillon, the two are pitted against each other when mobster Alphonse Patrillo hires Bullseye to get rid of the Punisher, causing general mayhem over the five issues.
After Daredevil visits Hell and battles Mephisto, he returns to New York with no memory of who he is. He breaks up a mugging and, in his addled state, gets his butt kicked by the mugger. Said mugger later brags to his buddies, who don't believe him, so they all look for Daredevil to kick his butt some more. This second go-round is broken up by Bullseye, who is amused by Daredevil's confusion and entices him to give up his costume.
As Daredevil, Bullseye commits burglaries, "saves" a kept woman from her wealthy husband, showers her with jewelry and tosses stolen cash around on the streets. This doesn't impress the Kingpin, especially as the Robin Hood schtick is making Daredevil more popular. So, Bullseye also commits a murder and sexual assault. Daredevil, who has become a boxer under the name Jack Murdock, puts on Bullseye's costume and confronts Bullseye-as-Daredevil. This identity crisis, which ended with Bullseye admitting that Daredevil was his better, all transpired in 1990-1991's "Daredevil" #284-#290, written by Ann Nocenti and drawn by Lee Weeks, with some fill-in artists along the way.
Karen Page first appeared in 1964's "Daredevil" #1 as Matt Murdock and Foggy Nelson's secretary. She fell for Murdock, but he moped that his blindness -- and his life as Daredevil -- were problems. Ultimately, he revealed his secret to her in "Daredevil" #57, but it backfired. Page moved to Los Angeles to become a movie actress in issue #86, and was out of the title for several years. Her return, in "Daredevil" #227, written by Frank Miller and drawn by David Mazzuchelli, set off a blockbuster chain of events. Page, now a desperate junkie, sells Daredevil's secret identity, and the Kingpin uses the information to ruin Murdock's life.
After Murdock and Page both get their lives on track, they become a couple again, but she leaves once more. Page is later tricked by Mysterio into believing she is HIV-positive. In 1999's "Daredevil" #5 (Vol. 2), written by Kevin Smith and drawn by Joe Quesada and Jimmy Palmiotti, Mysterio manipulates Page into going to a convent to rescue a baby, and hires Bullseye to kidnap the child and kill everyone present. As Daredevil fought him, Bullseye tosses his billy club at him, striking Page in the chest and killing her.
During the 2006-2007 "Civil War" crossover, Bullseye is recruited to be an enforcer on the pro-registration side. Afterward, Norman Osborn, who was named director of the Thunderbolts, brings Bullseye aboard the newly reconstituted team of villains to continue capturing super-beings who would not register with the government, in 2006's "Thunderbolts," written by Warren Ellis and drawn by Mike Deodato.
In recognition of Bullseye's instability, he is not used on public missions. When not on a mission he is constrained and kept under guard. To control him in the field, a nanochain is put in his body to give him a massive electric shock if he gets out of line -- the first time -- with increasingly more powerful shocks if he still won't be obedient. Still, Bullseye fought with and tried to kill members of his team, such as American Eagle and Songbird, nearly as much as he served Osborn's purposes.
Near the end of the "Secret Invasion" crossover in 2008, Bullseye killed a Skrull in the form of Yellowjacket. In the aftermath, Norman Osborn consolidated his power by being named head of H.A.M.M.E.R., the spy agency taking the place of S.H.I.E.L.D., and put Bullseye on the public team, the (Dark) Avengers -- which was composed of superheroes and several supervillains posing as known superheroes, all picked by Osborn.
Bullseye acted as Hawkeye, but he hated having to pretend to be one of the good guys. On one mission, he killed Morgan LeFey with arrows. In "Dark Reign: Hawkeye" #2, written by Andy Diggle and drawn by Clint Langley and Tom Raney, Bullseye rescued a woman from a trio of goons. But he took offense when she referred to Osborn as his "boss" and killed her, and then killed a TV news crew that witnessed the episode and destroyed their helicopter, to boot. It just goes to show, a leopard can't change his spots, no matter how much you dress him up.
In the "Dark Reign" storyline, Daredevil acts to control crime in Hell's Kitchen by becoming leader of The Hand, putting him in Norman Osborn's crosshairs. In 2010's "Dark Reign: The List: Bullseye" #1, written by Andy Diggle and drawn by Billy Tan, Bullseye, now wearing his own costume, goes after Daredevil on Osborn's orders. The fight takes them to an apartment building that, unknown to Daredevil, Bullseye had previously wired with explosives. Bullseye triggers the bombs, taunting a shocked Daredevil that the people inside would have lived had Daredevil killed him. The next time they met, he did.
In the "Shadowland" storyline, Daredevil plans to take leadership of The Hand clan of ninja in order to control crime in New York, but becomes corrupted. In 2010's "Shadowland" #1, written by Andy Diggle and drawn by Billy Tan and Matt Banning, Bullseye comes after him; but this time, Daredevil breaks his arms and then stabs him to death with a sai -- just as Bullseye had done to Elektra.
After Daredevil killed Bullseye, he retrieved the body to revive him, but make him loyal to the Hand, in "Shadowland" #3, written by Diggle and drawn by Tan. But the attempt is thwarted by Spider-Man, Wolverine, the Punisher and Elektra, who fight to overcome the demon that is possessing Daredevil. In the end, the demon is purged, and Bullseye's body is lost.
Daredevil is restored to himself in the next series, written by Mark Waid. But Daredevil is beset by different attacks -- such as making it appear that he has stolen his father's remains, and bringing his psychotic ex-wife Milla Donovan back into his life. These vents throw his life into chaos and put him off-balance. In 2013's "Daredevil" #24-#27, drawn by Chris Samnee, we learn that these acts were secretly orchestrated by Bullseye, who was rescued by Lady Bullseye. But now Bullseye is immobile, confined to an iron lung, and has only the sense of sight and his cunning mind, which of course is bent on revenge. But the iron lung winds up falling into a vat of chemicals, blinding Bullseye as well. It's still not known how he was revived, though it is sure to be addressed in Brisson and Sanna's new series.
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